The Real Reason Winx Will Never Run In The Melbourne Cup
Could Winx run the gruelling 3200m of the Melbourne Cup? Almost certainly.
Would she win? Probably, yeah, although weight would be a problem.
The Melbourne Cup is a handicap race which means the best horse has to carry the most weight. Winx would probably be allocated a heavier impost than even the great Makybe Diva, and that's one reason she has always avoided the race that stops the nation.
But there's another reason, and it's all about the love that trainer Chris Waller has for the horse.
Waller is proof that there are good guys in racing who care more for the horses under their care than the prizemoney. You only had to see his interview on the racing.com show That's Racing this week to understand.
Over the course of her 39-race career -- with her fourth Cox Plate she has won 33 of those, including the last 29 straight -- Winx has won over distances ranging from the sprint distance of 1100m, all the way up to 2200m.
Waller was asked in that racing.com interview whether a race like The Everest -- the new and unexpectedly controversial $13 million sprint in Sydney -- or even the Melbourne Cup were ever seriously considered. Waller, a hard-working, softly spoken Kiwi who arrived on our shores in the late 1990s virtually broke, had this to say.
"We dare not to try a 1200 metre sprint race, we dare not to try a Melbourne Cup because the path's been set and we don't want to tempt fate and it wouldn't be fair to Winx to to say 'Oh, they just ran it in [The Everest] because it was worth $13 or $14 million or The Melbourne Cup because they wanted to put a Melbourne Cup in the trophy cabinet.
"It is simply about Winx."
Did you get that? It wouldn't be fair to Winx to chase obscene amounts of prizemoney just so Winx's CV could be even more impressive.
That, right there, is a man who loves his horse more than he loves its place in history.
Ironically, it's that caring attitude which has served Winx so well in the races she has contested. Waller has never over-raced the mare. Nor has he been tempted by opportunities to race her overseas -- again, because it's just not in the horse's best interests.
And now Winx has won an unprecedented fourth Cox Plate -- the race which racing purists consider the best in the land.
It's testament to both horse and trainer that she was in the race at all, let alone as a short-priced favourite at the age of seven, an age when many thoroughbreds are already past their prime.
And who knows? She may race on in the autumn. But she won't race in the Melbourne Cup. Which in one respect is a shame, because she's almost certainly the only Australian horse that could win it.
But as stated, this isn't about Winx's CV. It's about Winx the horse, who has very much earned the right to put her hoofs up for the rest of the spring.